With the passage of Question 3 last Tuesday, cities and towns are left to set regulations for medical marijuana dispensaries.
Voters approved the use of marijuana for medical purposes, as prescribed by a doctor, by a 63 to 37 percent margin. With the approval comes the creation of marijuana dispensaries—"non-profit treatment centers that will grow, process and provide marijuana to patients or their caregivers," according to the Secretary of State.
There are already state regulations built into Question 3, which require the dispensaries to apply and pay for a Department of Public Health registration, as well as submit operating procedures, including the mandatory storage of marijuana in locked facilities.
Communities will also need to set local regulations for dispensaries.
"The Massachusetts Department of Public Health (DPH) is the regulatory agency for the new medicinal marijuana law. Once DPH sets the regulations for the dispensaries, we’ll conduct a review of those regulations and prepare and implement a plan to address it," North Reading Police Chief Michael Murphy said.
Reading Police Sergeant Detective Mark Segalla said that Reading is exploring a bylaw that will not allow any in town.
Massachusetts is the 18th state to legalize medical marijuana. Dispensaries have popped up all over the United States, and there are websites dedicated to finding them, including: WeedMaps.com.
Colorado has marijuana dispensaries in place, which were overloaded with callers seeking pot for recreational use earlier this week, according to News5 KOAA.com.
Marijuana has been used to help with several medical conditions in the 17 other states where it was legal before Tuesday. According to Pain Management of America, "Some of the more common conditions and symptoms treated with medical marijuana include chronic pain, nausea, glaucoma, seizure disorders, cancer, diabetes [and] muscle spasms."
Last month, the Wall Street Journal reported that an Oakland, CA dispensary generated nearly $1 million in tax revenue and sells approximately $20 million in pot annually.
Recently we asked our readers what you think: Should there be medical marijuana dispensaries in Reading or North Reading? Click the link to join in the discussion!